We last wrote to our community to explain the short term and temporary challenges we were facing from July to September 2021.
We are delighted to now provide you with an update on how things have progressed at Latham House Medical Practice since that last communication to you.
The key challenge in our community letter focussed on explaining the short-term and temporary staffing challenges we were experiencing at that time due to several reasons including unfilled vacancies and staff absence due to sick and compassionate leave.
We have recruited the following staff to join the Latham House Team.
- 1 new Head of Clinical Services
- 4 Salaried GP’s joined us between August and November 2021:
- Dr Oxana Iwanskyj
- Dr Tiago Ivo
- Dr Ben Wootton
- Dr Graeme Pettifer
- 6 new members recruited across the reception and administration teams
- 2 new members of the Pharmacy team
- 2 new Practice nurses
- 2 new registrars
- 2 new Physician Associates
- 2 new Health Care Assistants (HCA’s)
- 2 Apprentices. They will be both completing Apprenticeships with the Practice in collaboration with Loughborough College and will be working across two teams (Prescriptions and Reception).
- 1 Paramedic
- 1 Social Prescribing Link Worker – MSV PCN joined us on 2 August 2021
- In addition. we have supported 16 medical students since Oct 21 – Jan 22
Recruiting and retaining experienced clinical staff remains a challenge, as it does for the whole sector, and we remain focussed on creating a great place to work for all our team alongside promoting Melton Mowbray as an employee destination.
Our expanding teams have enabled us to provide
- Increased on the day capacity
- Increased 48hr GP access
- Choice of appointment type for patients
- Choice of GP lists
- Reduced routine appointment waiting times for patients. In August 2021 the average waiting time was 17 days compared to current average appointment waiting time of 12 days.
Significantly increased demand during the pandemic impacted our call handling performance. Recruiting more staff to our reception and call handling team has enabled us to improve the patient contact experience via our phones and reduce telephone call waiting times. In August 2021 the average call waiting time was 18 minutes compared to current average call waiting time of 10 minutes in December. We aim to improve on this further and so far in January 2022, the average wait time has been just under 5 minutes.
In addition to recruiting more staff we are also investing in a new telephone system which we will implement in Q1 2022. This system has multiple benefits including a call back option to save holding in a telephone queue. We have researched this system thoroughly and believe it will provide us with a system fit for the future.
We have also enabled many more ways for patients to get in touch with us with non-urgent enquiries and we continue to communicate this to patients through information on our website, social media, and screens in the Practice. We have also produced some handy ‘how to get in touch’ business cards, available at reception.
We offer the following ways to contact us for greater patient convenience
- Get in touch online. Non-urgentmedical queries or administrative requests can be sent online at Engage Consult. Engage Consultis available at www.lhmp.co.uk and we respond to all contacts on the same day if received before 2pm.
- Get in touch on email.
- [email protected]. For administrative queries or any non-clinical questions:
- [email protected] is available for patients with accessibility needs
- [email protected] is available for patient prescriptions requests or queries.
- [email protected] for any queries or requests for support with accessing your online service
- Patients can manage their own repeat prescriptions, appointments and view medical records on the AirMid or NHS app.
- Our website is updated and acts as a source for information. A lot of questions may be answered in our resources. www.lhmp.co.uk
- In person
- By telephone
By continuing to encourage the utilisation of these services, we hope to provide an improved response service and ensure our phone lines are available for patients with urgent concerns.
Patients can access some services such as physiotherapy without having to go through the Practice and we promote these self-referral routes on our website and social media.
Alongside these positive changes we have also continued to face challenges. We continue to support the COVID vaccination programme both at MSV and from our Practice and have delivered one of the largest flu vaccination programmes in our experience whilst navigating staff COVID related isolation periods.
The number of patients seeking help remains high and patients being assessed are generally more complicated, presenting with more advanced illness or disease and with several problems at the same time. This means that GPs are managing greater numbers of patients presenting with greater complexity.
In addition, the challenges to our sector continue as significant back logs within secondary care, as a result of the pandemic, puts additional pressure on primary care as we continue to support patients through the difficult and often painful waiting period until treatment can be offered at hospital.
Finally, with a heavy heart, we wished a happy retirement to some of our longest serving members of staff who collectively have contributed over 150 years of service to our community and Latham House Medical Practice.
As COVID restrictions continue to change it is important to remember that healthcare settings will continue to follow different guidelines to ensure the safety of our patients and staff.
Every day we have an average of 80 extremely clinically vulnerable patients who visit the Practice. Face masks will still be required to be worn when visiting the Practice and social distancing will remain in place as per national guidance
Our key messages to our patient community remains as
- Please use the online contact tools as appropriate for you.
- Please visit our Practice website to find out information.
- Know what you can self-refer for without the need for a GP appointment. Mental Health support, physiotherapy and orthopaedics are just some of the services you can access independently.
- Seek support of over-the-counter treatments and advice from your local Pharmacy may be able to rectify many minor concerns.
- Cancel your appointment if it is not required to ensure it can be offered to someone else.
Thank you for your continued interest in the Practice.
We are incredibly grateful for the support of our community.